Susan Alling Miller, a summer resident of Amagansett for many years, died in her sleep at home in Stamford, Conn., on Jan. 17. She was 85.
Born Helen Susan Alling in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 21, 1927, she was the oldest daughter of Dr. Frederic A. Alling and Helen Stearly. Her maternal grandfather was the Rt. Rev. Wilson Stearly, the fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.
In the 1930s, her family moved to Montclair, N.J., where she lived for most of her life. The family spent summers on Buzzards Bay, Mass., and in Quiogue.
Mrs. Miller attended the Kimberley School (now part of Montclair Kimberley Academy), where she graduated in 1945. Her family described her as pretty, vivacious, intelligent, outspoken, and with a ready laugh, and said she made many lifelong friends.
She played the piano and sang, appearing once in a school production of “Iolanthe” that left her with an abiding fondness for Gilbert and Sullivan. At Vassar, she majored in political science and also sang with the Gold Dusters, graduating in 1949. She was a loyal member of her class and participated actively in her 60th reunion.
In 1950 she married Paul R. Miller Jr., who was known as Tony, also from Montclair, where they lived from 1952 to 1971.
After getting a certificate at Montclair State, Mrs. Miller worked briefly as a teacher. Although she stopped teaching to concentrate on raising four children, she never lost her interest in education. She was appointed to the Montclair Board of Education and served as its vice president during the tumultuous years of social change in the 1960s. Her passion for education and civil rights never left her.
In 1971, after she and her husband moved to Weston, Mass., she went back to school, earning a master’s degree at Boston College in 1974. She then became a high school counselor, concentrating on college counseling, at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Mass., and later at Weston High School.
In 1984, the family moved back to New York City, where she worked in the admissions department at Columbia University and at the United Nations International School. After her husband died in 1991, she continued to volunteer her talents, counseling students at Martin Luther King High School and individually in the city.
She and Mr. Miller entertained often in Montclair and at their summer house on Furthereast Lane in Amagansett. While in Amagansett she attended summer services at St. Thomas Episcopal Chapel.
Later in life, when she moved to the Edgehill retirement community in Stamford, she remained active, serving on the Residents Council and never losing her interest in current affairs and social justice. She was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Riverside, Conn.
Mrs. Miller loved life, family, and friends. Her lifelong love of music never diminished; she regularly attended the opera in Manhattan and classical music concerts there and in Greenwich, Conn. The night she died, she had attended a New York Philharmonic concert with George Davis, whom she considered a dear friend,.
Ms. Miller is survived by a brother, Fred Miller of Marblehead, Mass., and a sister, Stearly Alling Holt, of Knoxville, Iowa. Her youngest brother, Wilson Miller, died in October.
Also surviving are four children, Fred Miller of Port Washington, Darcy Miller Powers of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Daniel Miller of New York City, and Paul Miller of Takoma Park, Md. She leaves five grandchildren.
A service will be held for her at 11 a.m. on Saturday at St. Paul’s Church, 200 Riverside Avenue in Riverside. The family has suggested donations in her name to the Annual Fund for Scholarships at Vassar College, Box 725, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12604, or to the Greenwich Chamber Players, P.O. Box 35, Greenwich, Conn. 06836.